Earning Games

2019 World Championship Preview: Japan

Japan is in group B with Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, and France.
April 4, 11:00 a.M. ET eleven:00 a.M. ET eight, 5 Japan vs Czech Republic
April nine, 5:30 a.M. ET gamers to watch are based on preceding tournaments.
Nana Fujimoto
Fujimoto is Japan’s maximum popular and proficient player. If you need to know why Japan defeated Sweden at the 2018 Olympics, look no further than Nana Fujimoto.
The veteran goaltender and NWHL alumna allowed five desires at even power in her 4 begins at the Pyeongchang Olympics. She finished the Olympic tournament with a .920 store percent and a 1.Seventy eight goals towards average — a marked improvement from the .886 store percentage she had in Sochi. Fujimoto changed into the main reason why Japan finished with an eighty four.Forty two percentage penalty kill in Pyeongchang. For years she’s been doing the whole lot she has to do to keep her group in big games.
Fujimoto’s athleticism and reflexes make her an entertaining and powerful goaltender able to making second and even 0.33 saves in sequences round Japan’s goal crease. You can probable count the video games wherein she wasn’t the group’s pleasant player in major tournament games on one hand. She’s that suitable.

Ayaka Toko
Toko is Japan’s great defender. She gained honors as the Best Defenseman on the Division I 2017 Women’s Worlds and collected three factors in the event. At the 2018 Olympics Toko led all Japanese skaters with a 24:27 common ice time in line with game. She led all of Japan’s defenders in pictures on purpose (15) and scored a good power aim within the tournament.

This can be a huge match for the 24-12 months-antique. It’s no secret that Japan desires to generate greater offense from its blue line and Toko will be the player with the maximum weight on her shoulders to provide further to her role as a shutdown defender and penalty killer.
Chiho Osawa
Japan’s captain is the simplest Japanese player who performed within the top tier of the SDHL. She’s almost actually the maximum impactful Japanese player gambling pro hockey right now. This 12 months, Osawa won the SDHL title with Luleå Hockey/MSSK.
Osawa didn’t spend the whole season with Luleå’s top club, however she did rating 8 dreams and earn 10 assists in 36 regular season games after she turned into promoted. More importantly, she produced for Luleå within the playoffs, picking up six assists and earning sixteen shots in 16 video games for the SDHL’s top group. It’s safe to mention that Osawa greater than held her personal in one of the top professional leagues in women’s hockey.
The 27-yr-old had a incredibly disappointing overall performance in Pyeongchang, selecting up simply one factor — a primary help — inside the tournament. However, Osawa finished 2nd amongst Japan’s skaters in photographs on purpose (17) and became the second maximum-deployed ahead (21:01 TOI/GP) at the back of Haruka Toko. Osawa can be a massive part of Japan’s offense in Finland. She’s one of the gamers who desires to finish if Japan’s offense desires to earn extra recognize from the rest of the hockey world.

Last Time Around
Japan proved their pleasant via winning gold at the Division I 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Austria. After a close call in opposition to Team Hungary in their first sport, “Smile Japan” extra or less cruised through the relaxation of the match. They beat Austria — who finished in second — by means of a score of four-1 and out-gunned Norway — who finished in 0.33 — via a score of 5-three thanks to an empty-net intention.
Team Japan seemed very just like their antique selves in Pyeongchang. In institution play, they lost to Sweden by a margin of just one aim and out-shot Switzerland 31 to 18, but misplaced through a score of 3-1. Japan shocked the hockey world by using defeating Sweden in overtime on April 18 within the first spherical of the 5th area bracket. Japan turned into close out by Team Switzerland two days later but their sixth area end changed into still a huge achievement.
Japan has loads to show after being relegated to Division I at the 2016 Worlds. They virtually made main a few steps in the proper path with their first area end in the Division I Worlds in 2017 and with their overall performance in Pyeongchang. But the hockey world is still ready on this software to take their game to the following level.


Goaltending and protection has by no means been Team Japan’s problem, however the identical can not be said of its offense. In Pyeongchang, the simplest team that Japan scored multiple goal against in regulation became the host state’s unified Korean group. A group-huge four.Seventy one shooting percentage in Pyeongchang had lots to do with that loss of production, however Japan additionally struggled to generate fine scoring possibilities against better teams.
In Finland, Japan’s offense wishes to deliver. The veteran forwards on this group need to break via at even electricity and at the power play. You can’t win games without scoring goals and few country wide teams have discovered that lesson as in many instances as Smile Japan.

Randy Montgomery

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